Tuesday, August 16, 2011

With thanks to the Silent Songster at Secret Songs of Silence, here's Dany Morin, a successful French Canadian chiropractor and Member of Parliament from Quebec.  At age 25, Dany (that's the spelling) has obviously achieved a great deal.  He's gay, and the National Newswatch site (a Canadian news aggregator site) reported that, "In an interview with a local radio station last week, NDP MP Dany Morin said he is calling for a special minister to represent those in the LGBT community."

The Songster notes, perhaps superfluously but certainly accurately, that Dr. Dany is also very cute. 

NDP stands for New Democratic Party which is regarded as center-left in its place on the political spectrum.  Local NDP branches form the provincial governments of Manitoba and Nova Scotia -- the Party seems to have "arrived" pretty securely in Canada's political life.  Dany's already the NDP associate critic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual issues.

How very different is the political reality for LGBT citizens of Canada versus those of the United States!  Here we get to watch as candidates for President from one of our two major political parties and their Christianist supporters spew hate speech, argue as to whether we should have all existing legal protections stripped from us, or be deported, or forced into ex-gay therapy, or put into camps, or all of the above.  Or just killed.

I know that no place is absolutely perfect (although Denmark heads the list every time the poll of the world's happiest people is updated, and my four trips there convince me that it's true) but the contrast right now between the US and what looks like a blessedly rational nation just to our north seems particularly sharp these days.

Bonne Chance!, Dany -- perhaps you'd be a good candidate for that new Ministry position should it ever come into being.


On his wonderful blog The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross who is a MacArthur "genius award" recipient and the music critic for The New Yorker, comes down firmly on the side of the unstuffy and unpretentious in concert wear for performers:

"There's an interesting debate going on among Mark Swed, Amanda Ameer, and Anne Midgette over Yuja Wang's fashion choices at recent recitals.

"I'd side with Anne here. For too long classical performers have been costumed essentially as high-end hired help; let them dress as they wish."

I was very pleased that Alex takes this stand.  Musicians in full evening dress is really an anachronism.  On the few occasions where a more informal, yet still neat and non-distracting style has been worn by an orchestra, I have been much more comfortable myself.  And surely the purchase and upkeep of all that formal wear will become a progressively bigger burden to musicians as orchestras beg for wage and benefit concessions in the face of the worsening economic situation for arts organizations. 

Men's formal wear was largely fixed in the aftermath of Prince Albert's death when Queen Victoria decreed standards of formal dress during the heavy mourning period decreed for her late husband.  Previously, there really hadn't been any formal "uniform" for men -- they merely wore the best versions they had of the style of the time.  Interestingly, no fixed style has been imposed on women once orchestras became gender-integrated.  The women wear what they want: pants, dresses of varying hem height, long or short sleeves, etc. just so it's black. 

I do understand the idea of a uniform color to avoid visual distraction within a large group.  I just think that it's time to leave mourning for Prince Albert behind.


Do stop over to the tumblr site Bachmann-eyezed!  Where all sorts of people from politicians to Betty White have been given Bachmann "crazy eyes."  The site proudly declares, "We use nothing but 100% real Michele Bachmann eyes" and solicits your nomination for anyone you'd like to see get the Bachmann treatment.  I have requested Richard Nixon -- I think Bachmann eyes would give him the final flourish of crazed megalomania.    www://http://bachmanneyezed.tumblr.com/

I think that Yuja Wang looks great and her choice in clothes obviously isn't an obstacle in her playing.

I LOVE the Bachmann-eyezed site. Some of those pics are frightening, but not as much as Dame Bachmann herself, for sure.

Thanks for the lesson in sartorial tradition for musicians. I did not know that. Yeah, it's probably time for a change.
I will be adding Dany to my list of future hypothetical husbands. Thank you! :)
Writer--always happy to be of service!

Java--thanks for stopping by!

Mark--Ms Wang is wearing what I call a gownless evening strap. :-)
Funny, I just watched a television program last night about Queen Victoria (and by extension Prince Albert). While is death was a serious event for the Queen and the country, the program never mentioned how he died. Now I must return to google...
Prince Albert died at age 42 of what was diagnosed as Typhoid Fever, a common cause of death in the 19th century, along with Cholera, due to poor sanitation. Some open drains and other less-than-good sewage engineering at Windsor Castle generally being given the blame. Modern doctors examining his case are skeptical -- his illness went on for far longer than Typhoid and they suspect something to do with the liver or other vital organs.

Queen Victoria went into perpetual mourning that lasted for the rest of her notably long life.
just one set of those eyes is enough for me, thank you!
Thanks for the shout-out, Will. The success of the NDP in the last Federal election was unexpected and based almost entirely on their replacing the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. Many of their candidates did not expect that they'd ever be elected but they were. They're rookies but they'll learn fast.

It is one of the oddities of the Canadian first-past-the-post system that, with three parties involved, results can often favour two to the complete detriment of the third. Thus, the old PC got wiped out in the early nineties, and the Liberals this last time. Our current government is, alas, cut from much the same cloth as your Tea Party.

For a good - partisan - blog from the left end of the Canadian blogosphere, have a look at Montreal Simon.

One thing I particularly enjoy about the Boston Symphony Open Rehearsals is the dress decisions of the players - you get a much better idea of what they are like, and it humanizes the experience. Also there doesn't seem to be a uniform dress code at the Marlboro Music Festival. Outfits within a performing group are usually coordinated, and there's a lot of black, but they vary from informal to formal. Last weekend I was amused by 3 women who added shiny red garments to the basic black to achieve a sort of camp effect. But the quality of the playing quickly takes your attention away from even the most outrageous clothing.
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